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FAQs for Supervisors

How does one determine if an assignment can be an unpaid internship?

The Department of Labor offers a six prong test to follow.  All six of these criteria must be satisfied.

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment;
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern;
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff;
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded;
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship; and
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

             *For any questions or for additional information, please contact your HRBP.

How do I determine if I should complete the Volunteer Assignment Description or Non Employee Associate Form?

The Volunteer Assignment Description should be completed for volunteers, volunteer faculty and unpaid interns.  The NEA Form should be completed for agency temps, visiting professors and independent contractors.  For the definition of a volunteer or unpaid intern, please refer to Volunteer Page on the HR website under “Process”.

Who pays when a background check is required of the volunteer?

If the volunteer/unpaid intern is required to undergo a background check, it is the department’s responsibility to pay for it.  Per University Background Check Policy, volunteers/unpaid interns who have routine or regular contact with minors will be subject to a Background Check.  Please contact your TAS if you have any questions. 

What paperwork needs to be completed to onboard a volunteer/unpaid intern?

The department must first complete the Volunteer/Unpaid Intern Assignment Description and submit to your RSS. For Academy volunteers/unpaid interns, please reach out to Maria Morales at or 215.299.1029.

Once paperwork is completed who should it be sent to?

Paperwork should be sent by the department to Human Resources by email (, Interoffice (3201 Arch St, Suite 430) or by fax (215.895.5813) to review and process. Any questions feel free to reach out to your TAS. For Academy volunteers/unpaid interns, please reach out to Maria Morales at or 215.299.1029 to complete paperwork.

Can volunteers receive ID cards and email access?

Yes.  By completing the volunteer/unpaid intern assignment description, the volunteer will have a username and ID created in banner and can therefore receive a Dragon Card and email access. Dragon Cards for Non-Drexel Employees

Who should be contacted if a volunteer becomes injured?

For Drexel, please contact the Public Safety Emergency Line at 215.895.2222. For the Academy, please contact the 19th Street front desk at x1019 or call 911.

Can a volunteer/unpaid intern be dismissed?

Volunteer/Unpaid Intern assignments can end at any time by either party without notice.  If an end date was not listed on the Volunteer Assignment description, the department should notify HR at when an assignment ends and ensure the ID card, keys, etc. are collected.

What activities are prohibited for volunteers/unpaid interns?

Volunteers or unpaid interns cannot replace or be substituted for current employees or perform work that would otherwise require an individual to be employed. 

Operating heavy equipment or motor vehicles, working with hazardous or infectious materials, working with stored energy, any activity considered inappropriate for an employee, entering into any contract on behalf of the University or being present in a clinical setting or working with Protected Health Information (PHI) except in accordance with Drexel University policies and procedures.  Other activities may be prohibited at the discretion of the supervisor.  For unpaid internships please refer back to question 1 for supervisors.

Can internationals apply for a volunteer/unpaid interns assignment?

All volunteers/unpaid interns must be eligible to work in the United States to begin an assignment.

What do I do if I want to extend someone’s volunteer assignment?

Please send an email to your TAS with the new dates of the assignment. Assignments are for a maximum of 1 year and require renewal for continued assignment. For Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University volunteers, please contact Maria Morales at or 215.299.1029.